Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Amazon’s NLRB Settlement Empowers Workers to Get Organized

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Amazon, under pressure to improve workers’ rights, has reached an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board to allow its workers to associate freely – and without retaliation.

Under the agreement, the online giant said it will contact its warehouse workers – past and present – by email, who have been at work anytime from March 22 to the present, to notify them of their organizational rights. The agreement states that Amazon’s 750,000 US employees have more room to organize inside buildings. For example, Amazon has said it will not threaten employees with discipline and will not call the police when they engage in union activities outside of their workplaces after hours.

Under the terms of the settlement, the employment board will be able to more easily sue Amazon – without going through a time-consuming administrative hearing process – if it finds that an online company has violated its agreement.

“Whether a company has 10 employees or a million employees, it must comply with the National Labor Relations Act,” NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement. “This settlement provides Amazon’s critical commitment to millions of its workers in the United States that it will not interfere with their right to act collectively to improve their workplace through union formation or other collective action.”

She added that “Workers should be aware that the National Labor Relations Board will actively seek to ensure that Amazon complies with the settlement and continue to protect the labor rights of all workers.”

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. could not be reached for comment.

Amazon faced organizing efforts this year in warehouses in Alabama and New York. These efforts come amid escalating unrest among workers at other US companies. Other companies such as Kellogg, Starbucks, and Deere are also resisting organizational efforts.

Unrest arises because labor shortages give workers a rare advantage in wage negotiations and require more flexibility in their work schedules.

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